Governor Phil Murphy today signed Executive Order 104, which significantly increases the State’s response to the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, in New Jersey. This Order imposes several restrictions on all of New Jersey businesses, including franchised automotive retailers.
Governor Murphy ordered “non-essential” retail, recreational, and entertainment businesses to close at 8 p.m. every day. “Essential” businesses excluded from the Governor’s Order include grocery/food stores, pharmacies, medical supply stores, gas stations, and healthcare facilities. Until we receive further clarification from the State, dealers should assume they fall within the non-essential category.
From 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., non-essential businesses may remain open only if they limit their occupancy to no more than 50 people and adhere to social distancing guidelines.
“Occupancy” is not defined in the Order and we are currently researching the issue. Until we receive further clarification in that regard, a conservative approach to this restriction is recommended. The Executive Order also incorporates the CDC’s definition of “social distancing,” which is the practice of remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (6 feet) from other people.
In short, non-essential businesses may operate from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., limit occupancy to 50 people, and those 50 people must remain at least 6 feet apart and not congregate. These protective measures are effective immediately. Violations can lead to 6 months imprisonment and/or a $1,000 fine per violation.
To review the complete Executive Order No. 104, click HERE